Football tournament sees closely-contested final

The winning Aldingbourne Trust team with students from Christ's Hospital School, who provided support

The winning Aldingbourne Trust team with students from Christ's Hospital School, who provided support

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The Aldingbourne Trust moved its annual open football tournament for adults with learning disabilities to a new venue this year.

he tournament has been held at the country centre, near Fontwell, since 2010 but this year’s participants enjoyed the delightful surroundings of Arundel Castle Cricket Club.

Nicki Clarke, enterprise and development champion, explained: “The country centre was not able to host the tournament this year due to site developments and on hearing of the predicament, John Barclay, former Sussex captain and now director of cricket at Arundel, stepped in with the offer to use the Castle Ground.”

The tournament has grown in size each year and this year saw ten teams from around Sussex take part.

The collaborative feel was enhanced by Christ’s Hospital School, as pupils assisted the players by organising warm-up sessions, acting as ball boys, running the lines and refereeing.

Mandy Burgess from Pagham Cricket Club also gave a helping hand by running the barbecue, providing much-needed fuel for the players.

The true spirit of the game was on show all day, with many great goals and lots of fun being had.

The Strawford Centre in Horsham narrowly beat the Wrenford Centre in Chichester to fourth place and The Apuldram Centre, near Chichester, finished third with the help of tournament top scorer Andrew Hek.

The final was a closely-contested match between West Susses Out There and Aldingbourne Country Centre. Out There had the majority of the chances but were repeatedly denied by the brilliance of Aldingbourne goalkeeper Robert Fox. In the dying minutes, a Christian Roberts corner kick was met by a crisp volley from Pickering to make it 1-0 and Aldingbourne took the trophy amid jubilant scenes.

Prior to the final game, the popular Penalty Shoot Out was held, in which more than 100 competitors were eventually whittled down to Lewis Pickering from Aldingbourne and Warren Tame from Out There, with the latter finally striking the winner into the top corner.

The Aldingbourne Trust is a West Sussex charity that supports adults with learning disabilities to live independently and have the same opportunities as everyone else.

The charity’s main site is at the Aldingbourne Country Centre. Visit www.aldingbournetrust.co.uk for more information.

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